- Travel and Places
Castles of Germany: V
German Castles and their history
A castle that is said to contain the most beautiful organ in existence; another which is the possible inspiration for the story of Sleeping Beauty; and one of the most recognized castles in the world are found on this fifth page of the fabulous castles of Germany. Here we will learn something about the history of these majestic castles. Join me as we take a virtual tour through the countryside as we explore: Burgk Castle, Marksburg, Sababurg, Neuenstein Castle, Lichtenstein Castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Burg Castle.
Located in Thuringia, Germany, Burgk Castle is situated above the Saale River on the outskirts of the Thuringia Forest. A residence in the area was first mentioned in 1365, but the castle seen today is not the original building. The exact date of the rebuilding is unknown, but is believed to be some time in the late 1500's or early 1600's. The Red Tower and a castle wall is marked with the date 1545. Having experienced additions and refurbishing over the ages, Burgk Castle is a mix of architecture ranging from Gothic to Rococco, with the interior decorated in various styles.
Built for the Ruess Princes as a hunting residence, Burgk Castle is famous for being the home of many magnificent handmade organs. Inside the castle chapel sits one of the most beautiful organs in existence, a Silbermann Organ, which is played by some of the most talented musicians in the world.
The Red Tower is the pride of the castle, and the museum in Burgk Castle tells the history of the area's coal mining history. The museum also contains a large number of paintings from Dresden artists.
Large photo of Schloss Burgk above courtesy of Zeank. The smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Zacke82 and Geisler Martin under a CC license.
Located in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany overlooking the town of Braubach, Marksburg was first mentioned in 1231, and was built by the Lord of Eppestein. Soon after, the castle was purchased by the wealthy Count Eberhard II of Katzenelnbogen, and the High Noble Counts held Marksburg for generations, and were also responsible for the many additions to the castle giving it its present day look. Marksburg holds the distinction of being the only castle on the Rhine River to have never been destroyed and rebuilt, and is therefore a true medieval castle.
Marksburg hosts one of the smallest courtyards in all the castles of Germany and also has a medieval herb garden which contains over 100 different types of herbs, including the well-known deadly ones like nightshade and hemlock.
In 1947, Marksburg was turned into a military fortress, and saw action in the Thirty Years War, but because of its defensive position and stronghold additions, the castle never fell to the enemy, nor saw much damage.
In 1803, the Dukes of Nassau became the new owners of the castle, who used the castle as a prison, and a home for disabled soldiers. In 1866, Marksburg changed hands again and became the property of Prussia who let the castle fall into disrepair.
In 1900, the German Castle Association bought Marksburg and the restoration began. Marksburg is now the Headquarters of the German Castle Association, whose mission is to preserve Germany's grand castles and residences.
Large photo of Marksburg courtesy of Myrle Krantz. The smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Sir Gawain, Ulrich Mayring, and Roland Todt under a CC license..
Located in near Kassel in Hessen, Germany, Sababurg was built in 1335 by the Archbishop of Mainz, and was originally known as Zeppenburg (or Zappenborgck) for the protection of the pilgrims who travel to the Gottsbueren Shrine. In 1455, a wild horse breeding farm was established by Landgrave William II of Hessia, and this is one of the oldest breeding ventures in Germany.
Eventually, the castle was no longer needed to protect the pilgrims, and the castle sat empty for over 100 years, and began to decay. The castle soon became overgrown with ivy and wild rose bramble, and Sababurg is said to be the inspiration for the version of Sleeping Beauty by the Brothers Grimm, who were born in Hanau, Hessen and were educated in Kassel, Hessen. The name for Sleeping Beauty in German is Dornroschen, which means little thorny rose.
In 1508, Sababurg became a hunting lodge, but as the years went by the castle fell further and further into a state of disrepair, partially because of the wars in the region. Near the end of WWII, Sababurg was destroyed and ransacked, and has only been partially rebuilt. The part of the castle that has been restored is a popular hotel, and the castle grounds is also famous for its beautiful and extensive rose garden. There is also the large Tierpark Sababurg at the outskirts of the castle grounds, which is a wildlife refuge.
Hyperlinked photos courtesy of Presse03 under a CC license.
Located in Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg, near SchwÃ¤bisch Hall in Germany, Neuenstein Palace was originally built in 1225, but rebuilt from 1558-1564, and is a beautiful example of a moated Renaissance palace.
The Neuenstein Palace was expanded in the 15th century, and again in the 16th century by Count Ludwig Casimir, giving the palace it's renaissance look. After the death of Wolfgang Julius in1698, the palace became a residence for the Counts of
When the Counts of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein left the palace, Schloss Neuenstein stood empty and began to fall into a state of disrepair. After a short time, Neuenstein Palace was used as an orphanage, a home for the elderly, a work-house, and the office of various businesses.
In 1861, plans were made to turn Neuenstein Palace into a museum of the Hohenlohe family, and in 1870, major renovations were underway. The museum houses a precious antique collection of items such as ivory carvings, goblets, and wooden statues. The palace also boasts the largest and best preserved medieval kitchen in Germany.
In 1906, under the direction of master architect Bodo Ebhardt, Neuenstein Palace was restored to the majestic renaissance palace seen today.
Large photo of Schloss Neuenstein courtesy of Klaus with K. Hyperlinked photos courtesy of Rudolf Stricker and Bogdanovskaya2.
The Schleich line of medieval toys are well known to collectors and enthusiasts. These inexpensive toys are perfect for those who love medieval themes, but do not want to spend a fortune. Why not order a few today?
Located in the Swabian Alb mountain range above the Echaz Valley near Honau, Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg, Germany. Burg Lichtenstein is a fairy tale like castle built in 1840 by Duke Wilhelm of Urach, Count of WÃ¼rttemberg. The castle was built as a haven for the Dukes of Urach, and the lower rooms of the castle is actually carved into the rock upon which it sits.
Lichtenstein Castle is reminiscent of Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein, but on a much smaller scale. A castle has been on the on the site since the 1200's, but was twice destroyed and wasn't rebuilt the second time. Lichtenstein castle, was designed in the neo-Gothic style by architect Carl Alexander Heideloff.
Lichtenstein Castle is owned by the Dukes of Urach, but the palace is also open to visitors. The castle holds a grand array of weapons and armor that can be enjoyed by those who dream of the days of knights and chivalry.
Large photo of Burg Lichtenstein courtesy of Nipe. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Hg6996 and MFSG/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0 under a CC license.
Located in Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany, atop a large hill, building on Schloss Neuschwanstein began in 1869, by order of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Neuschwanstein Palace sits overlooking the castle of Ludwig II's father, Burg Hohenschwangau.
Built as a retreat for the king, Neuschwanstein was a tribute to Richard Wagner, and was built in a style reminiscent of the ancient castles of the Germanic knights. The original name of this fantastic was New Hohenschwangau Castle, but was changed to Neuschwanstein (New Swan Rock) in honor of the Swan Knight Lohengrin, who was a character in one of Wagner's operas.
In 1886, building on Neuschwanstein Palace was nearly complete, but King Ludwig II was not able to enjoy his fantasy castle for very long, because in that same year, he was declared insane by Dr. Johann Bernhard Aloys von Gudden, and on June 13, both Ludwig II and Dr. von Gudden were found drowned in Lake Starnberg under very suspicious circumstances. The exact details of their deaths are a mystery to this day, but a popular belief is that the two were murdered.
Several rooms in Neuschwanstein were never finished and the building of a keep in the courtyard was planned, but the foundation for the keep can be seen. The palace contains an exquisitely hand-carved master bed that is worthy a king, and a beautiful throne room with paintings of the twelve apostles and Jesus. The palace also boasts a large kitchen with hot and cold running water and a bathroom with flushing toilet.
King Ludwig II was very knowledgeable about recent inventions and his castles were some of the first buildings that had electricity, Neuschwanstein being one of them. Neuschwanstein is also one of the most visited attractions in Germany, but be ware, photography inside the castle is strictly forbidden, you may buy souvenirs which shows the interior at a shop inside the castle.
Neuschwanstein is the castle of Baron Bomburg in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Large photo of Schloss Neuschwanstein above courtesy of Jeff Wilcox. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of Lokilech under a CC license.
Located in Burg an der Wupper near Solingen, Germany, Schloss Burg was originally built in the 12th century. The castle seen today, however, has been rebuilt several times over its lifetime.
Originally built by Adolf II von Berg, and called Castle Neuenberge, Schloss Burg was given its current name in the 15th century. The successor of Adolf II von Berg was Count Adolf III von Berg, who was killed during the Fifth Crusade, which was an attempt to take back Jerusalem from the Ayyubid state in Egypt. The castle was taken over by archbishop Engelbert II of Cologne, the younger brother of Adolf III von Berg.
Archbishop and Count, Engelbert II of Cologne added the main building to Schloss Burg. He was also advisor to the Holy Roman Emperor, and the tutor and guardian of the future King Henry VIII of Germany. His relative, Frederick of Isenberg, belonged to a movement that was opposed to the aggressive politics of Westphalian nobles, a category of which the Archbishop belonged. On November 7, 1225, Count Frederick von Isenberg set into motion an ambush, and the Archbishop was killed in the chaos. Some say Frederick intended to have the Archbishop killed, but others say it may have been accidental. In any event, Frederick von Isenberg was excommunicated, stripped of his wealth, and his castle was destroyed. Later, he was captured and sold to the chapter of Cathedral in Cologne. He was put to death at the Severin Gate by having his arms and legs crushed, then he was broken on the wheel. He lingered in agony the entire night, and died the next day.
A battle broke out over the rights of succession for the Duchy of Limburg which pitted the archbishop of Cologne against the count of Berg. People chose sides and one of the largest battle in Europe in the Middle Ages broke out. The counts of Berg won the battle and Schloss Burg became the residence of the counts of Berg.
In 1632, the Swedish attacked Schloss Burg, and in 1648, the Imperial troops destroyed much of the castle during the Thirty Years War. By 1849, the castle was sat in ruins, and was sold as scrap.
In 1882, architect Gerhard August Fischer suggested the castle be reconstructed and drew up plans for the task. In 1914, the castle was restored, having taken 24 years, but after all the hard work, dedication, and money, a year later fire destroyed much of the newly rebuilt Schloss Burg. Not to be defeated, visitors paid fees to visit the burned castle, and Schloss Burg rose from the ashes.
Schloss Burg is well worth a visit, and houses the Museum of the Bergische Land, and holds a fabulous Ritterspiele (renaissance fair).
Large photo of Schloss Burg above courtesy of Cranker. Smaller hyperlinked photos courtesy of MorLipf, Morty and Michael Tettinger.
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For the love of castles...
A marvelous book on some of the castles of Germany. Learn even more about these majestic residences and fortresses.